Saturday, May 7, 2011

Men's elements: Biker fashion.

Modern trends generally start for women before being modified to suit men's tastes. The motorcycle trend is no exception, as it emerges into men's wardrobes at the same time this year, albeit it to a much smaller degree.

                                                Men's motorcycle jackets: both from Burberry Prorsum

Spearheaded by a number of design houses, including Burberry, the main element of the men's version of trend are statement jackets - unlike women's where we've also seen a number of additional pieces. The colour palette is much muted as well: it's all black, a fact that makes the trend rather cliche for men but not so cliche that the only motorcycle jackets on trend are Brando jackets.

Womens fashion trend: Wide legged pants.

It must be said that wide-leg pants are not for everyone. It's for that reason that they've never been the dominant style to conquer the streets (not in the average fashioniers' lifetime, anyway) and, while we count them amoung 2011's fashion trends,  we don't expect their lack of mass popularity change in a hurry.

Skinnies have a long life left in them yet; but this is an year in which flares are on-trend, and wide leg pants are there alongside them. But while the wide-leg may not become your new wardrobe staple just yet, don't overlook it as an elegant, stylish addition to your 2011 repertoire, particularly when styled right.

                         Wide leg palazzo pants at Organic by John Patrick SS11

Styles of wide-leg pants:

There are three key styles of wide leg pants on trend in spring 2011:

Wide-leg trousers.

Sophisticated yet relaxed, sharp and tailored with a mid to high waist: that's how 2011's wide-leg trouser distinguishes itself. Perfect for masculine-inspired looks, be they very modern or very vintage.

                                         Wide legged trousers at Akris SS11

Wide-leg jeans.

Jeans that are wide-legged from top of the thigh down can have a tendency to end up looking baggy. In 2011, we'd recommend jeans that are more fitted on the thigh - lean to flared legs or moderately wide legs rather than wide legged jean styles that are too baggy or that lack shape. Be wary of a skinny leg that then widens from the knee, however: that's too much like the 90's take on bell bottoms, a look firmly out in 2011.

Palazzo pants.

Palazzo pants are the resort cousin of the wide-leg pants family. While wide-leg trousers take you from the office to the bar, palazzo pants serve you best when you're lounging around on a yacht or soaking up some Mediterranean sun. Fabrics should be light and with plenty of drape and flow - silks, crepe, jersey; you can even try sheer fabrics for a look that's daring but now.

How to wear wide leg pants.

· With heels. Flats will simply never complete the look as well as heels will; the exception is if you're carrying off a very masculine look with man-style flats.

· With a slim-fitting top to balance out the volume on the bottom half. A soft, billowing blouse can also work well but is best broken up with a waist-cinching belt.

· With utter 70s glamour: wide-leg trouser, platforms and a big floppy hat.

· Female dandy style - look to vintage icons like Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich for inspiration.

· With 40s pin-up girl flair, by pairing some wide-legged sailor pants with nautical stripes and espadrilles.

                                    Wide leg sailor pants at Christian Dior SS11

Wide-leg pants: who should wear them.

A final, mandatory note about wide-legs, be they jeans, trousers or a draping palazzo: all of these styles work best of taller frames. If you're short in the legs try a pair of skinny cropped pants or ones with a subtle flare paired with heels.

Royal wedding: Kate Middleton's dress to go on public display.

Now there is happy news for the millions of us who swooned over the Duchess of Cambridge's fairytale creation. The wedding dress is to go on public display, allowing visitors to examine its every intricate detail.

The dress, designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, is expected to become one of the capital's biggest tourist draws.

Possible venues include the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, which open to the public in the summer, or Hampton Court Palace, where a team from the Royal School of Needlework helped in its creation.
The Victoria & Albert Museum, which has a world-renowned fashion department, is also a consideration.

A Clarence House spokesman said: "The Duchess of Cambridge is considering a number of options to give members of the public the opportunity to see, close-up, the skilled British craftsmanship that went into the making of her wedding dress by Sarah Burton and her team as well as the Royal School of Needlework."
The ivory satin bridal gown, with a fitted bodice and nine-foot train, was decorated by hand with lace appliqué flowers.

It was made amid such secrecy that the lacemakers from the Royal School of Needlework were not told the identity of the designer, lest it leak out.According to one report, they were not told that the project was a royal commission, believing that the dress was destined for a television period drama.

The large team - aged from 19 to 70-something - comprised staff, tutors and graduates from the school, alongside students from Britain, Japan, the US, China, Switzerland, Holland, Thailand, Germany and Slovakia.

Conditions were so stringent that the embroiderers were required to wash their hands every 30 minutes to keep the lace pristine, and the needles were renewed every three hours. The lace designs were applied to the delicate net background with fine cord-like thread and minute stitches. To maintain a flawless appearance, no securing knots were used.

Anne Butcher, 44, from Sandhurst, Berks, was one of the seamstresses. "We've all enjoyed the experience. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance," she said.

The team did not meet the bride-to-be but Susan Kay-Williams, the school's chief executive, said: "We understand that the Duchess had a great part to play in [the design] and we would love it if she would come to see our work some time, accompanied by the Duke, of course."

The dress won high praise from couture designers. Karl Lagerfeld hailed it as "elegant and classic", while Valentino described it as "very simple and young" but with a nod to Grace Kelly's 1956 bridal gown. Christian Lacroix said of the Duchess: "She never was so beautiful."

It is expected that the gown will pass to the Royal ceremonial dress collection, which houses costumes from the 18th century to the present day. It includes the wedding dresses of Queen Victoria and Princess Margaret.

The Queen's wedding dress, designed by Norman Hartnell, was last displayed in 2007 as part of a special Buckingham Palace exhibition to mark the sovereign's 60th wedding anniversary.

The wedding dress worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1981 is exhibited Althorp, family seat of the Spencer family, each summer. It is also taken out on tour, most recently to Kansas City, Missouri where it drew over 1,000 visitors per day.

Within hours of Friday's wedding, copies of the Duchess's dress were being rolled out. In the Chinese city of Suzhou, home to hundreds of garment factories, teams of tailors began running up cut-price versions which will sell for as little as £70.

The US is also cashing in, with one New York-based brand planning to have a $2,000 (£1,200) copy on the market within eight weeks. The company, Faviana, specialises in replicating dresses worn by celebrities, from Jennifer Aniston to Sarah Jessica Parker. However, head designer Shala Moradi said: "This is going to exceed by far any order that we've done."

Pippa Middleton, the maid of honour, proved a fashion hit in her white column dress which was also designed by Sarah Burton. Fashion experts predicted that it would become one of the most requested designs for brides marrying in the next 12 months.

Rafael Nadal peels off for latest Armani campaign.

First there was David Beckham, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo.

But now there's a new underwear model in town, in the form of tennis ace Rafael Nadal.

The 24-year-old sportsman, who is currently the number one tennis player in the world, stripped off for the latest campaign for Emporio Armani underwear.

In the black and white pictures, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot, Nadal is seen looking broodily into the camera while showing off his muscular physique in a tiny pair of Armani pants.

Talking about appointing Nadal as the new face and body of Emporio Armani underwear, Roberta Armani said recently: 'He always chose interesting clothes for tennis, like long trousers or long sleeves on court – he wears a lot of colour.

'He is not just an amazing sportsman but also an artist. I'm so proud he is joining the family.'

Nadal's decision to accept the campaign came as something of a surprise to his millions of fans as the Spanish player has always been known for his shy and reserved attitude.

However, the sportsman clearly didn't have many qualms about stripping off in the new campaign, in which he stars alongside former Transformers actress Megan Fox.

The campaign is the latest in a string of lucrative deals for Nadal, who is thought to have earned a staggering $37million since he became a professional tennis player in 2001.

Also, Forbes magazine reported that Nadal earned an additional $21million in 12-months through endorsements including Nike, French tennis racket manufacturer Babolat and Spain's largest insurer Mapfre SA.

The new shots of Nadal, along with the incredibly sexy pictures of Megan Fox, will form part of the spring 2011 campaign and will be appearing on billboards from next month.

                           Rafael Nadal's 2011 Armani Jeans Campaign Video.

An Interview with Fashion Photographer Rory Lewis: Why I became a photographer.

What drew you to become a photographer?

As a photographer I get asked what drew you to become a photographer? Where do you get your visual inspiration from? What influences your work?

History and art always interested me and I never even contemplated becoming photographer. My main ambition during my formative years was to become a Lecturer of History. Social change, conflict and political ideology fascinated me from an early age and still do today.

Most teenage boys were rebelling and chasing girls while I was reading Das Kapital and the Memoires de Napoleon, making trips to medieval castles and cathedrals. I must admit I had a very geeky childhood. I knew more about Napoleon and Lenin than I did Aperture Priority or the opposite sex.

                                                      Napoleon Bonaparte on the Bridge at Arcole

During my final years in school & college I dedicated my studies to attending medical school; working hard to finish my A-Levels to gain a place at Cambridge University.

At 18 I didn’t have much life experience and after 6 months at medical school I decided medicine wasn’t the career I wanted to pursue. Still in love with history I spent every spare minute reading about the Crusades and the Norman Conquest.

Leaving Cambridge I gained a place the following year at Kings College London; and began at last my History Degree. Feeling that I was now pursuing my passions, spending countless hours in the British Library and Public Record Office.

I only started to play about with photography in my late teenage years, at 18 and 19 I used to carry a digital camera around with me snapping anything I found interesting buildings, artwork and landscapes. Cinema became a great passion for me and I decided to take a supplementary course in film history at Kings.

Seeing Metropolis, Nosferatu and the Cabinet of Dr Caligari for the first time; I became a lover of German Expressionism the beginnings of film noir.

Metropolis features special effects and set designs that still impress modern audiences today with their visual impact. The Maschinenmensch, the robot character played by Brigitte Helm was iconic. I was amazed by the visual effects cinematography and set design, along with with films themes of class division and poverty. I started to explore my interest in photography even further as the influences of German Expressionism were fresh in my mind. I had a huger to become more creative.

During this time I was holding down a weekend job at an electrical store and was becoming a bit of a gadget freak. Being able to play around with the latest computer and camera equipment during slow days I began to look at photography more seriously. Being able to borrow cameras and practice techniques.

Portraiture is an area of photography I started to fall in love with, at work in April 2004 I spotted the cover of Digital Photographer magazine the cover image was striking and it drew me to start creating some breathtaking portraits and beauty portraits of my own. The Photographer Italian photographer Eolo Perfido took the photograph and shared my love of portraiture.

                                       Copyright Eolo Perfido Digital Photographer Magazine April 2004

Studying the works of other portrait photographers Yousuf Karsh, Eve Arnold and Cecil Beaton I started to assist professional photographers. Learning lighting techniques and direction I began to set up shoots of my own. At first with friends and then I approached a model agency. Nervously with my amateur photography I was surprised to hear they liked what they saw, allowing me to set up test shoots with their new faces.

Photography became my foremost passion. I finished University with a good degree and returned home to continue developing my work. To my surprise I began to gain commissions, at first individuals needing portraits, then models requiring model portfolios and eventually businesses requiring advertising and campaign photography. My success allowed me in 2007 to started my own photography studio, developing my skills and working with clients both locally and nationally.

I don’t really follow many photography blogs cinema still continues to influence my work and lighting techniques. Magazines like Dazed and Confused, POP, ID and Vogue inspire me to start new projects. I still carry a small camera with me, if I find a location, inspiration, or even a new face to photograph its a handy tool.

                                                             Twiggy Copyright Cecil Beaton 2011

I hope I’ve covered those three questions and don’t want to waffle on too much, but for those looking to start out as a photographer my advice is to search for inspiration, assist professionals and find for your photographic niche whether it be portraiture fashion, landscapes or fine art. In a few weeks ill try and post some more info on the cinema and photographers that have influenced my work so stay tuned.